The wisdom behind the Prophet's fasting the tenth of Muharram

  • Publish date:27/12/2009
  • Section:Fataawa
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Question:

Why did the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) observe fasting on the tenth of Muharram?
 
Fatwa:
All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.
 
The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would fast certain days apart from those in the month of Ramadan and among these days was the tenth of Muharram. Mu‘aawiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) saying: 'This is the tenth of Muharram and fasting it is not obligatory for you, but I am fasting, so whoever wants to fast, he may fast and any one who does not want to fast may do so.’" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) observed fasting on this day because Moosa, may Allah exalt his mention, would observe fasting on it as this is the day when he was saved from Fir`awn (Pharaoh) by Allah. Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "When the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) came to Madeenah, he found the Jews fasting the tenth of Muharram (‘Aashooraa). He asked about this and they said, 'It is a good day on which Allah saved Moosa (Moses) and (his people) the children of Israel from their enemy (Pharaoh) and Moosa used to fast it.‘ Upon this the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: 'I am worthier of Moosa than you.' He thus observed fasting and commanded people to observe fasting on this day." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Day of ‘Aashooraa’ was glorified by the Jews and regarded as a feast. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: 'You (Muslims) should fast this day.'" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Allah Knows best.

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